Plymouth Parkway 4,
Ivybridge Town face another busy week ahead as they welcome Cornishmen Helston Athletic to Erme Valley tomorrow before tackling Stoke Gabriel in the St Luke’s Bowl on Tuesday evening, again at Erme Valley.
The week is capped off with them travelling to Launceston on Friday evening, although all of these matches come with the proviso that rain doesn’t interfere with proceedings.
Ivybridge Town general manager Brian Howard will be hoping his side enjoys better luck than last week, which saw the Bridgers slide to consecutive 4-2 defeats against two of the league’s top teams.
Last Saturday the Bridgers had the unenviable task of travelling to Bodmin, a team yet to be beaten in the league this season and sitting pretty at the top of the table.
Always likely to be a tough game, Ivybridge’s mammoth task became all the more difficult when two goals from the home side put them 2-0 up.
Teenage striker James Rowe scored to briefly get the Bridgers to 2-1 and right back in the game, but unfortunately former Ivybridge striker Andrew ‘Rocky’ Neal then scored to put Bodmin 3-1 up.
Despite the outstanding Rowe scoring again, there was no way back for Town.
Tuesday night’s game saw the Bridgers travel to Plymouth Parkway, who they knew would be keen for victory after being turned over at Erme Valley earlier in the season.
The match started in fine fashion for the visitors, who scored in the first minute through that man Rowe.
Parkway equalised in what was a fast-paced opening half before Town midfielder Lee Doel scored an absolute screamer to make it 2-1 to Town.
However, the turning point of the match came just before half-time when Parkway were awarded a controversial penalty, much to the disappointment of Howard, who felt his side were hard done by.
They converted the spot-kick to go into the break all square.
With defender Josh Zimmerman and midfielder Luke Brown, key players both, suffering injuries, an already small Ivybridge squad was always likely to be stretched second half.
This proved to be the case as Parkway were the stronger side in the second period as Town faded a little.
This was always likely to be an especially tough week for the Bridgers, but the manner of their performances meant general manager Brian Howard had plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
He said: ‘We acquitted ourselves very well against two of the stronger teams in the league, so we can hold our heads up high.
‘We’ve got a young squad, eight of the first team are under 21, so the future’s bright. We played well in both games but individual errors cost us.’
The performances of young striker James Rowe, who scored three times in the two games, also earned the praise of his manager, who said: ‘He’s on fire at the moment, he’s only 19 so he’s definitely one for the future.’
Howard also showed an interest in the new youth competition for the Peninsula league, which starts in February, and backed his side to have a decent chance given the age of their current first team.
Meanwhile, in the South Devon Football League premier division, Ivybridge Town reserves moved up to fourth in the table last Saturday with a 4-2 victory over East Allington.